Disappointing weekend for Volkswagen RX Sweden in Barcelona


Swedish FIA World Rallycross Championship team Volkswagen RX Sweden experienced a disappointing weekend at round nine of the championship, held at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya in Spain (September 18).

Just as at the French round of the championship two weeks earlier, where Kristoffersson claimed victory in the Volkswagen Polo RX, the Swede was fastest in Q3 and Q4 on Sunday morning in Spain to be second at the Intermediate Classification. Second in the semi-final put Kristoffersson on the second row of the grid for the final, where he finished third on track, but was later demoted to sixth following a black flag for contact during the race.

Despite the disappointing outcome of the final, Kristoffersson strengthened his position in the World RX Drivers’ Championship standings, by closing the gap to second position in the points. “I had a very good start of Sunday again and the semi-final was good. We made a bit of a mistake in the joker lap otherwise we would have won it. In the final, I had a very, very good start but had to back out of the throttle to avoid hitting Mattias (Ekstrom) in front,” said Kristoffersson. “I didn’t close the gap enough into turn two but I pushed really hard and we had good speed. Timur (Timerzyanov) had a problem at the hairpin on the last lap, and going into the next corner we had contact. Fair enough I touched him a little bit, but I believe he would have gone wide anyway, but it is what it is. We had good pace this weekend and we are fighting hard to move forward in the championship.”

In the team’s other Volkswagen Polo RX Supercar, Anton Marklund ended the event outside of semi-final qualifying positions despite once again proving the pace of both himself and the car. The former FIA European Rallycross TouringCar Champion lay inside the top 12 after the first day in Barcelona, but got stuck behind another competitor in Q3, which effectively ended his chances of progressing into the semi-finals. “I’m getting a bit tired of having poor weekends due to bad luck or being in the wrong place at the wrong time,” said Marklund. “I was stuck behind Ken Block in Q3 who had technical issues, and in the end that lost me the semi-final spot because I ended up in an early race in Q4. I really haven’t been able to show what me and the car are capable of, which I know is to be making it into the final. Now I just want to recharge for the next round in Riga, where I really believe that without any bad luck I can fight for the podium.”

Volkswagen RX Sweden Team Principal Michael Schneider was satisfied with the pace of the car and drivers in Barcelona, but was frustrated by the end result of the weekend. “I’m very disappointed at the result of the weekend, especially as we once again showed really strong pace from the Volkswagen Polo RX Supercar here,” said Schneider. “The fact that we are on the pace is very encouraging though. The whole team is looking forward to going to the new track in Latvia in two weeks time where we are aiming to have both Johan and Anton challenging for the podium as we close in on the leaders in the championship.”

The next round of the FIA World Rallycross Championship takes place in two weeks time at Riga in Latvia (October 1 – 2), a new venue for the championship.

Barcelona, Spain Results
1) Mattias Ekstrom (Audi S1)
2) Timmy Hansen (Peugeot 208)
3) Timur Timerzyanov (Ford Fiesta)
4) Janis Baumanis (Ford Fiesta)
5) Robin Larsson (Audi A1)
6) Johan Kristoffersson (Volkswagen Polo RX)

14) Anton Marklund (Volkswagen Polo RX)

FIA World Rallycross Championship Drivers’ Standings
1) Mattias Ekstrom, Sweden, Audi, 204
2) Petter Solberg, Norway, Citroën, 194
3) Johan Kristoffersson, Sweden, Volkswagen, 178
4) Andreas Bakkerud, Norway, Ford, 170
5) Sebastien Loeb, France, Peugeot, 154
6) Timmy Hansen, Sweden, Peugeot, 143

13) Anton Marklund, Sweden, Volkswagen 62

FIA World Rallycross Championship Teams’ Standings
1) EKS (Audi), 318
2) Team Peugeot-Hansen, 297
3) Volkswagen RX Sweden, 240
4) Hoonigan Racing Division (Ford), 224
5) World RX Team Austria (Ford), 159
6) OlsbergsMSE (Ford), 93

FIA World Rallycross Championship 2016 Calendar
1 Portugal – Montalegre – 16/17 April
2 Germany – Hockenheim – 6/8 May
3 Belgium – Mettet – 14/15 May
4 UK – Lydden Hill – 28/29 May
5 Norway – Hell – 11/12 June
6 Sweden – Holjes – 2/3 July
7 Canada – Trois-Rivières – 6/7 August
8 France – Lohéac – 3/4 September
9 Spain – Barcelona – 17/18 September
10 Latvia – Riga – 1/2 October
11 Germany – Estering – 15/16 October
12 Argentina – Rosario – 26/27 November